Friday, January 30, 2009

Attachment Update...

For those of you who have been following for a while, you know that Abby has had the hardest time attaching with me. For 6 months I have felt like a human yo-yo… ‘come close…go away,’ back and forth she has pulled and pushed me. But I have always allowed her the freedom and the control to do that… I realized early on that earning her trust was going to be a long and possibly difficult process.

But the most important thing is that we have seen progress… More and more Abby is clearly beginning to trust me. She asks me to wash her hair and the other night, for the first time, her back… She sits with me and doesn’t pull away when our arms bump and she’ll often put her legs across mine. She’s still funny about hugs though, but I believe that that will come with more time.

She is an incredibly obedient child… All it takes is a firm tone of voice and she will do as she’s asked (I really hope that quality will last forever!)… She loves to help me in the kitchen, she almost always sits on a stool at our kitchen counter and talks to me when I’m cooking dinner and she doesn’t mind doing chores when everyone else is doing theirs.

One of the most striking things about her, that I know I’ve mentioned before, is her generosity. She will always offer what she has to someone else before she takes it for herself. And the other day, she drew and colored a heart shape, cut it out and brought it to me… “Love, mommy.” Every time she sees a heart, she calls it love!

A funny thing about Abby is how talkative she is… She can pretty much out talk all three of our other children, put together. It doesn’t even matter that I still don’t understand a good bit of what she says. Her ability to grasp the language is AMAZING, but as another blog buddy said a while back, it’s ‘Ching-lish.’ She often pronounces English words with a Chinese pronunciation or, she will mix Chinese words in with her English… But it doesn’t slow her down a bit…she just chatters on! Incredible since her tutor in China was afraid that she had a developmental delay because she wouldn’t talk!

Abby continues to remind me so much of myself, in a spiritual sense. Whenever I do something nice for her, she is much more affectionate with me. In the normal course of the day, she can take me or leave me and when I don’t do things her way, she can definitely leave me!

But isn’t that just how we are with our Heavenly Father… When He blesses us (in the way we want to be blessed) we’re just full of praises and telling Him how wonderful He is! In the normal course of life, we act like we can take Him or leave Him… sometimes we pay attention to Him and sometimes we don’t. And then, when He doesn’t do what we want Him to do, we get angry and push Him away. I am just way too much like Abby.

But something else has occurred to me as we’ve been studying Daniel, in Bible study. The people of Judah had fallen into serious idolatry, they were seeking fulfillment, purpose, satisfaction from every source, other than God… So God brings judgment on them and allows Babylon to take them captive.

What occurred to me though, is that God just wants His children to love Him above all…to be completely dependent on Him… to come to Him for everything. So, He takes the steps that are necessary to turn their hearts to Him. And then it hit me, that’s what attachment is all about…

We want our children to love us first…they can love others, but we want their hearts to belong to us… not running here and there to every possible parent, ‘parent-shopping’ as some call it. And we want them to be dependent on us, to come to us to have their needs met. I think about early on how I wouldn’t allow anyone to do anything for Abby except me so she would learn to trust me and depend on me, so she would attach to me.

I mentioned once that a friend of ours, who is a psychologist, told me, when I was fretting about the attachment process, to not worry. He told me, in the end (after all the reading and preparation) to just look to my Heavenly Father who is the Master of attachment… He said, the Bible is one long story of attachment. At the time, I didn’t fully understand that…but I do now!

This continues to be an amazing journey!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

We Had TOO Much Fun!!

Tonight we celebrated the Chinese New Year...last night was a soccer night so we had to wait until tonight and it was a blast! Abby really opened up about China and I spent 3 1/2 hours making pork dumplings! Yep...for those of you who know me personally, that was 3 1/2 hours!! (Cooking is not my favorite activity!)

Someday, Abby will understand what an act of love that is, every time I make her dumplings!


And I can't believe I'm going to post this picture of my rear end, but it was just too funny...yes, I wipe my hands on my pants when I cook!!


The girls had so much fun...they were a great help folding all of those was clear Abby had done this before!



I splurged on decorations at Party City and decorated the dining room... Who knew when I painted it red, 5 years ago, before we had ever even considered adoption, that it would be the perfect color to celebrate Chinese New Year!


(Yes, there is an empty picture frame waiting for us to finally frame some art we brought back from China...those walls look so bare...)


Next, the girls cleaned up and put on their Chinese outfits... (Well, Mackenzie's is just a top.)


Abby, we are so blessed to be able to celebrate the Chinese New Year with you! It was an honor to cook something you love and an utter joy to watch you eat your weight in dumplings!! You will never know how excited I was when you tasted the first one and said, "Taste gooood, mommy!"

We love you!


I pray that this year is blessed beyond your wildest imagination!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Happy Birthday Mackenzie

Today is our sweet Mackenzie's birthday! 11 years ago, it was Super Bowl Sunday...the Denver Broncos played the Green Bay Packers and Mackenzie was thoughtful enough to be born in time for us to make kick-off! I'm not really a huge pro-football fan but Scott appreciated it!

I'm so thankful that 11 years ago, God blessed us with the most amazing daughter! She is sweet and generous and not only do I love her, I REALLY like her too! I love spending time with her and talking to her!

She's fun, she has the greatest laugh, she loves to play outside and she's not too old (even though she's 5'3") to sit in the rocking chair with me! She's so beautiful, inside and out, and she doesn't even begin to realize how beautiful she is...she blushes when someone tells her how pretty she is. She is a wonderful big sister to Abby, and she has been such a help to me. She is such a joy to us!!

It's been a fun weekend... We're kind of funny how we celebrate birthdays. We always do a family celebration with cake, a special dinner and presents, and then on their 10th, 13th, 16th and 18, the kids can have a big birthday party.

But with all the changes she's experienced this year, we agreed to let her have 2 friend's sleepover. So on Friday, Mackenzie and I made her birthday cake. She will take a homemade cake over a store bought one any time, even if her mother's not the greatest cake decorator!

On a side note, she wanted a basketball theme because her school had a fundraiser and she played in a basketball game for fun (she's never played basketball before) and at their practice, one of the dad's recruited her to play on his team! On a side note, she had her first game yesterday...they won, 9-6 (looks more like a football score) and she scored a basket!!


The girl's had so much fun... I found these really cool mugs at Micheal's, they're ceramic and you color them with permanent markers, we made chocolate candy, ate cake and ice cream and then they were off to do their 'girl' thing...






Today, she opened her presents from us... She wanted Molly from American Girl (She loves to play dolls with Abby now) and 2 gift bags FULL of books (she loves to read)!!



Happy Birthday Sweet are such a special young lady!!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Baby Jesus Songs & An Award

Just a quick short story that is just too precious not to share...

When we adopted Abby, we learned that she loves music. Since Mackenzie had purchased an IPOD Nano, she decided to let Abby have her IPOD Shuffle. I will never forget the first time I heard Abby say the name 'Jesus'... We had been home a very short time and I was wondering how we would ever begin to teach her the name Jesus and the next thing I knew, she was singing it with one of the songs on her IPOD.

Well, last week Abby came to me and was very upset that there were songs on her IPOD that weren't 'baby Jesus' songs. She wanted me to take off all the Disney songs only put 'baby Jesus' songs and Christmas songs...who says she can't listen to Christmas music year round?

So, her IPOD is full of 'baby Jesus' songs and we're still hearing Silent Night, Jingles Bells and Frosty the Snowman (I know, those aren't 'baby Jesus' songs, but Christmas songs were her exception)!

She still doesn't understand who He is, but how wonderful that she loves to sing about Him...she knows He loves her...Abby's version of Jesus Loves Me... "Jesus loves me...I KNOW!" I think He must smile when she sings about Him!!

On another note (no pun intended!!)... my friend Leslie, who is taking I hope, just a temporary break from blogging (I miss you friend), nominated me for an award...the Lemonade Stand Award, which is for blogs showing great attitude and gratitude!

Now it's my turn to nominate a few...

Definitely Cheryl at HisTaiHens...her faith and her perseverance through the trials of trying to adopt their 3 children in Taiwan is inspiring...

Then there's Linn at A Place Called probably have been following their blog, but just in case, they adopted 2 precious ones from Uganda in December, and then this past week, their house burned on Wednesday, their son and an emergency appendectomy on Thursday and then their long time best friend, their dog died on Friday... Her faith is unshakable... Linn, I want to be like you when I grow up!

And then, my friend April over at Dirty Laundry...she's had more than her fair share of trials and she always keeps me laughing!!

And finally, my friend Trina at the Great Adventure... she has 6 children, homeschools, blogs and still takes time to encourage the rest of us!

Ok friends, now it's your turn to nominate someone... And Linn, I understand if you don't have time right're a little busy!!

Hugs to all my blogging buddies!!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Catching Up...Part 2

Ok...April friend, this one's for you! (You'll have to read her comment on my last post! LOL!!)

So thank you for hanging in there with me, I guess I just needed a break from blogging...

So here's the rest of Christmas!!

On Christmas morning, Abby got up and put on her new dress that Ms. Trina and Alaina sent her (thank you friends)...she was so excited to get dressed up for Christmas morning!! Scott and I were getting everything ready downstairs and I hear from the top of the stairs, as she's been asking to come downstairs, "Mommy, I give you howg!" (You'll have to read the story in the last post!) She's catching on!


Christmas morning was wonderful. All of the Santa presents were wrapped so the kids had to take them one by one! She was so patient and so willing to wait on everyone to open their presents...

Abby got her Bitty Twin...


Mackenzie, her digital camera...


Nick, his IPOD...


And Zack, his cell phone (yep...he's 15 and just getting his first cell phone!)


Noba (my mom) and my grandmother, Mama H. were with us too...


The day after Christmas we headed somewhere else in the south and spent a few days with my PawPaw and Granny...


And from there, on to Grandpa J's and Grandma C's, where we got to hang out with cousins too (Scott's brother and his family)... The kids had a BLAST!!

The first night, Uncle B, brought everything and made dumplings (from scratch, even the dough) for Abby... She LOVED them! So did we...they were delicious!! Thank you Uncle B for going to so much trouble, it was really special!!


Abby chowed on them!!


The next day the older kids headed off to a ropes course (they had a blast) and Abby hung out with her cousin, E... She finally got to swing on the rope swing and just as I suspected, she LOVED it!!






Mackenzie, as always, loved being with her cousin S...they get along so great...we just need to live closer to them...




Then we added little R...our other cousin...we had 9 kids in the house! It was wild!!


This was our dog Pippin...he found a quiet place to hide and fell asleep (Yes, he's wearing a sweater...LOL...Abby was so worried about him being cold that she asked for a sweater for him for Christmas)


The whole gang!!


It was a wonderful Christmas and we ended on a great note with my cousins driving from somewhere else in the south to come and see us, it was a girl's weekend and we had a GREAT time!!

We did lots of crafts, Scott made us waffles for breakfast and cooked dinner for us on Saturday night!


Ok...I think that catches us up through the New Year... I'm not too good at posting all the details, I really love to just write, so thank you for hanging in there with me, I'm amazed at how many of you have continued to check in on us...

We started our study in Daniel in Community Bible Study, after the New Year, and it is an amazing study... God has been stirring up some things in my heart that I'm looking forward to sharing. I'll share some thougths on that in a few days. I promise not to wait so long!!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Catching Up...Part 1

Ok…time to catch up on Christmas.

Abby LOVED Christmas! And it wasn’t even the presents that were the highlights for her…oh, she liked those, but it was the Christmas tree, the lights, the gingerbread house and baby Jesus that seemed to fascinate her.

Our Christmas celebration began the day after Thanksgiving with our usual trek to the north to cut our Christmas tree. We do this every year (we even drove home from our visit to family on Thanksgiving Day because we weren’t willing to compromise on this tradition!). We cut our tree, eat at Sonic and pull out the decorations. Of course, we have to put the tree up, fill the stand with warm water and then we wait until Sunday evening to decorate… it has to settle! (That’s Scott’s story and he’s sticking to it! LOL!!) But hey, now it’s tradition!!



Abby LOVED decorating the tree, but much to my dismay, I realized that we didn’t have any ornaments with her picture or a special stocking just for her… YIKES, that was one I didn’t anticipate very well and Abby noticed too. So I made a big deal that we would go shopping and she could pick her own special stocking and she was happy with that, but what about the picture ornament.

Well, on Monday after school, she disappeared into her room for a while, she didn’t want me to see what she was working on and she emerged with her own homemade picture ornament (yes, it is carefully stored for next year!). I love how she doesn’t stand on the sidelines but just jumps right in… She’s right where she belongs and she seems to get that!!


Unfortunately, we didn’t do such a great job of choosing our tree this year…we cut one off of a hill and couldn’t see how crooked it was and it fell three times and of course it was the biggest tree we’d ever had so it was a nightmare dealing with it when it fell. Thankfully it always fell against the shutters, so it could have been much worse.


I loved how Abby interacted with the nativity scenes… She was always checking out baby Jesus in the gift box and I found Bitty Bear on the camel!


But one of my favorite nights was a night that Scott had to go somewhere with the boys. I took the girls to Chick-Fil-A and after chicken and fries, and of course and Ice Dream Cone (Abby loves, I mean LOVES, ice cream) we set off to look at the lights.

I drove forever through neighborhoods (of course we were in the new Jeep so it made it doubly fun for me, that is the funnest car to drive! I almost forgot, my van was dying...9 1/2 years old, almost 160,000 miles so we took the plunge and bought a used (new to me) red, I mean RED, Jeep Commander!! Now the boys are no longer embarrassed to be seen riding with me!!)…

Anyway, Abby got excited over every light we saw! But the highlight of the evening was in a neighborhood of cluster homes with postage stamp yards. We found a house that had gone all out and not only did they have a yard, porch, and roof, packed with lights, they had synchronized it to all of the fun Christmas songs.

So I pulled over in front of the house, rolled down the windows and the next thing I knew… Abby was singing at the TOP of her lungs! I was laughing so hard…I hope the mom or dad (probably dad) who did all of that work could hear her!

This year we decided to try making a gingerbread house! YIKES…that has never been my thing, but we had fun, even if it was a HUGE mess!! And then Abby found a kit for making reindeer out of candy canes and so we now have a family of reindeer candy canes!!



With Mama would NEVER believe her age! She looks AMAZING!!


On Christmas Eve, we have a tradition of the kids opening one Christmas present. Abby was so excited, she talked about it all day long and naturally I assumed that she wanted to open one of her presents. So evening came and the kids were playing cards with my grandmother and Abby couldn’t get anyone to go along with her plan to open a present.

I tried to educate her in the ways of plying her daddy… “Abby, go and give him a big hug with a sweet smile and say, ‘Daddy, can we pleeeeeeeease open our present?” Abby’s translation… She walks over to Scott open her arms and says, “Ok, howg me! Now open present?!” Yep, we have some work to do on that one!

But when the time finally came to open a present, it wasn’t her present that she was excited about! She had made a present for Scott and I at school and couldn’t wait for us to open it! It was a wonderful calendar that she had made!!

She really has such a sweet, generous spirit! We saw this many times over Christmas in such simple ways… Wanting others to open their presents first…offering her candy or snacks to whoever was around…bringing me a pillow one afternoon when I laid down on the sofa…even watching me play with my new toy, my IPO*D Touch, she brought me her stylus from her game to try and help me. She always seems to be watching to see how she can help someone else. It’s a special treasure in her heart that I hope we can foster and grow in some really special ways…

More in a day or so about the rest of Christmas…

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A Thought for the New Year

First of all, Happy New Year (a few days late)... I feel like I've been out of the blogging world for so long, even though it's only been a couple of weeks, but there's so much to catch up on...

I'll do that over the next week, but first, there's something that's really on my heart...

Each year I like to ask myself the question, "What do I want God to do in my heart this year?" I guess that could sound a little presumptuous, God will do as He sees fit, but I hope that the longing that He gives me each year, is from Him…a burden for something in my life that needs changing.

Over the last months, since our adoption, God has continued to show me how hard my heart still is and lately, I have found myself longing for God to break my heart...

Over Christmas, I was on IT*nes, trying to find some new groups that I would enjoy listening to and I stumbled across a song by Brandon Heath, it really spoke to my heart. Here are the lyrics…

Looked down from a broken sky
Traced out by the city lights
My world from a mile high
Best seat in the house tonight
Touched down on the cold black tile
Hold on for the sudden stop
Breath in the familiar shock
Of confusion and chaos
All those people going somewhere?
Why have I never cared?

Step out on a busy street
See a girl and our eyes meet
Does her best to smile at me
To hide what’s underneath
There’s a man just to her right
Black suit and a bright red tie
Too ashamed to tell his wife
He’s out of work
He’s buying time
All those people going somewhere?
Why have I never cared?

I’ve Been there a million times
A couple of million eyes
just move and pass me by
I swear I never thought that I was wrong
Well I want a second glance
So give me a second chance
To see the way you see the people all alone

Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me your love for humanity
Give me your arms for the broken hearted
The ones that are far beyond my reach
Give me your heart for the once forgotten

Too often I find that my heart doesn’t break for the brokenness of humanity and that makes me sad. But I believe that Mr. Heath has the right idea…we need to pray for God’s eyes to see.

He created a perfect world…He gave us a tremendous gift and we wrecked it…that must grieve His heart…so it should grieve mine too. I need His eyes to see…His heart to feel…His love to give…His selflessness to sacrifice.

I have so far to go and yet, I am His workmanship (Ephesians 2:10), a work in progress, being crafted by the hand of the Master… I am no where near where He wants me, but I’m so far from what I used to be!

I pray that when this time rolls around next year, my heart will be more tender, more compassionate, more full of mercy and overflowing with His love and grace…I pray that I will see more with His eyes each and every day.

Many blessings in the New Year!